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Korean Catholic art exhibition shows children's suffering in war

The tragic death of Syrian refugee child Alan Kurdi in 2015 inspired the exhibition
Church leaders attend the opening of the 'Peace for Children' art exhibition at Seosomun Shrine History Museum in Seoul, South Korea, on June 12

Church leaders attend the opening of the 'Peace for Children' art exhibition at Seosomun Shrine History Museum in Seoul, South Korea, on June 12. (Photo: CPBC) 

Published: June 13, 2022 06:12 AM GMT

A Catholic museum in South Korean capital Seoul has launched an art exhibition to highlight the devastating impact of wars, especially rights violations and the suffering of children.

The exhibition with the theme “Peace for Children” began at Seosomun Shrine History Museum on June 12 and will run until Aug. 28, reports the Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC).

The display showcases artworks from 14 contemporary Korean artists who reflected on themes of war, human rights and children — the innocent victims of the war and terribly oppressed.

Church leaders including Archbishop Peter Chung soon-taick of Seoul, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung Yeom and Bishop Benedictus Son Hee-song, chairman of the Martyrs Commission in Seoul Archdiocese, attended the opening of the exhibition.

Father Sa Seung-hwan, deputy director of the museum, noted that the exhibition has been a long-cherished project.

The priest said the death of Syrian refugee child Alan Kurdi in 2015 highlighted the extreme suffering of children due to war in the Middle Eastern country.

“In particular, I wanted to convey the point that war leaves indelible scars on children's bodies and minds for the rest of their lives”

“The dead body of the kid shocked the world. He was a refugee and extremely marginalized. As a child in the war, he experienced the brutal miseries brought by the war,” the priest said.

Though the project was first conceived in 2015, it took years to materialize due to various reasons including the outbreak of the pandemic, he explained.

Artist Lim Young-seon, whose artwork titled “Love your neighbor as yourself” adorns the exhibition, said the tragedy of Alan Kurdi shocked him and inspired to take up art to denounce war.

“In particular, I wanted to convey the point that war leaves indelible scars on children's bodies and minds for the rest of their lives,” Lim said.

Archbishop Chung said the exhibition reminds people pain of the war and urgency to protect children from devastation.

"This exhibition proves the pain of war and makes it possible to remember our children, especially those who need to be protected," he said.

"I pray that the voices longing for peace in everyone's hearts will grow day by day through the exhibition."

Seosomun Shrine History Museum is located at Seosomun History Park, the site where many Catholics were executed for their faith during the rule of the Joseon dynasty.

The shrine is a part of the Seosomun Pilgrimage Route, one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in Korea.

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